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What Is a Good Laptop for Real Estate Photographers?

Published: 30/01/2019

Larry in Florida says:

I would love to see a discussion of the latest and greatest laptops real estate photographers are working with. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I think what a good laptop for a real estate photographer boils down to is a laptop that will run Lightroom well. If you outsource your post-processing, any laptop will do. But if you use Lightroom and Photoshop, chances are, it's running Lightroom that needs special consideration. In my experience, to run Lightroom well, you need the following:

  1. An i5/i7 processor
  2. Good quality 4K screen
  3. 1TB SSD
  4. 16GB RAM

Turns out there is a recent article over at that goes deep into the subject of which laptops would be best for Lightroom. I'd be inclined to go with one of the top 3 on their list:

  1. HP Omen 15T
  2. HP Pavilion 15T
  3. Apple MacBook Pro - I use one of these for LR and like it.

What is your favorite laptop for running Lightroom?

Larry Lohrman

11 comments on “What Is a Good Laptop for Real Estate Photographers?”

  1. I would love to say MacBook Pro as well, but the new ones only have USB-C outlets. You are forced to use an adapter if you want to convert from an SD Card. Furthermore, USB-C outlets are incredibly flimsy. I've broken two adapters and I'm sure I've done some damage to the USB-C outlets as well. It's as if Apple has forgotten who uses their products. They can't possibly be that stupid.

    Unless they go back to SD Card capabilities, I might start looking at (gulp) PCs again...

  2. I do all of my editing on a MacPro (Big silver box) with a pair of nice big calibrated monitors, lots of RAM and a bunch of drive space. I find laptops too limited with no way to do much upgrading. The other thing is that once I'm done with a job, I head home and do my editing in close proximity to my fridge and teapot ($.10/cup for the premium tea and not $4/cup at a coffee shop).

    I do have a laptop and I take it with me on days where I have multiple jobs. It's a rather old 13" Macbook with a dated version of Lightroom, but I can plug it into the car and have it ingest photos from the memory cards, apply my standard presets and render previews while I drive or I can take it in with me on the next job, plug it in and let it grind away while I'm shooting. When I get home, all I have to do is import the catalog to my main RE catalog and I'm ready to edit. If the last job isn't digested yet, I can let the laptop continue with it so it isn't robbing CPU power while I'm editing.

    If you see yourself wanting to edit photos in the field, you will need a laptop with some horsepower, but if you adopt a workflow like mine, you can get a laptop a few years old cheap. The question is whether you've already figured out that it's going to save you time working with a slower machine in the field if you find yourself with slack time during the work day between appointments. You can still do your selects on any ol' machine that will run your version of LR which could be all you need to fill up dead time. I don't find myself with that much dead time and when I know that I'll likely have time between appointments, I'll do some advance research and see if there are any parks or community buildings I should photograph to add to my community photo folders.

  3. I picked up a Microsoft Surface about a year ago and love it. I recently installed a 4G sim card, so wifi transfers directly to Dropbox has been very helpful. Sometimes, I'll even mount it to the old tripod as a monitor. Very versatile.

  4. In my MHO there is only one solution. A MacBook Pro, then again I am biased as I have been using one for the last 9 years. It has served me faithfully during my travels around the globe and never let me down. I did however upgrade to a 1TB SSD and 8 GB, the max RAM.
    The suggestion above of 16 GB is well founded. I am also a press photographer and use Photo Mechanic 5, downloading hundreds of images at a time into the aforementioned RAM it does have a problem with the 8 GB. It is the same problem with LR and Capture One Pro. As I cannot upgrade the RAM higher I suppose I will have to buy a new one sometime? I have been pushing this off as I do most of my work on my iMac.
    If I get a seat at the press conferences I do tether using the old girl and Capture One Pro. Tethering never seems to work with LR for some reason.

  5. I will not pick a laptop, but I will say if a budding photographer has a choice to spend 2000 on a camera body and 1000 on a laptop, or 500 on a camera body and 2500 on a laptop, he would have done very well for himself going the speedy laptop route. I think this is a completely underdiscussed topic. Imagine if you saved say 5 seconds of computation time on every image for an entire year (when in reality it could be a lot higher). There is not much of a better time saver than going bigger and faster on a laptop or computer.

  6. I use a Lenovo YN520 it has an i7 7th gen, 24gb of Ram, NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4gb Ram, 2TB hard drive with a 256SSD. I have been using this for over a year now and works great. I can run LR, PS, and Premier at the same time and works like a champ and I only paid $1000.

  7. I don't trust Laptops for critically editing. For that matter, even exploring using LR Mobile and PS Express on iPhone or iPad aren't trustworthy of a good edit. The images "look" fantastic on those devices, but when you open them on a calibrated monitor later they look like crap. The opposite isn't true - editing on a calibrated screen looks fantastic on mobile devices.

    From what I can tell, there isn't any way to calibrate iPhones or tablets for editing, and even though you can run calibration software on laptops, the screens don't seem to show enough tonal nuance to do critical work.

  8. Coming from a graphic design background I've always used Macs. I currently use a 27" monitor and plug that into my 17" MacBook Pro when I want to work on the photos.

  9. I went round and round with this topic about 8 months ago and could not justify the price of a Macbook. If you use Adobe Premiere you should avoid Macs at all cost because as I understand it Premiere and Macs don't play nicely together. (Macs and FinalCut sure but that's another topic.)

    I ended up deciding on the New Dell G5. It came with 4k resolution screen, the new Intel i7 8th gen chip, 16GB of RAM, a dedicated video Nvida 1060 graphics card and 128GB SSD HD (upgradeable) and a 1 TB SATA HD. I paid just under $1300 for it. Granted the screen isn't on par with the Mac's but the amount that I saved I can purchase an external monitor and more storage for a machine that will run circles around the majority of Macs. Oh, and I do graphic design and video work on a Mac as my part time job for a local church too.

  10. I use a DELL XPS 15 FHD Core I7 (6 cores and 12 threads) 16 Gb ram. 256gb NVMe SSD. It's an awesome laptop to edit photos and video.

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